Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Wilmington, NC

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000 FXUS62 KILM 222338 AFDILM Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Wilmington NC 738 PM EDT Wed Mar 22 2017 .SYNOPSIS... Freezing temperatures possible over a portion of the area tonight as cold Canadian high pressure builds into the Carolinas. As this high moves more offshore Friday into the weekend, a warm-up will ensue. Minor rain chances are expected Sunday as a weak upper disturbance passes well to our north. && .NEAR TERM /THROUGH THURSDAY/... As of 300 PM Wednesday...A broken layer of post-frontal strato- cu blanketing the Cape Fear region this afternoon will continue to break up and scatter out as we head into the evening hours. Model soundings show very dry air at all levels moving in from this evening into Thursday as a deep-layer NW flow takes hold. At the surface a cold and dry high will drop SE across the eastern Carolinas through the near term as ridging builds aloft. Breezy and gusty winds will continue into the evening hours as the cold surge barrels down from the north. Considering how poorly guidance has performed recently, see the main forecast challenge for this period will be overnight temperatures. Considering past performance, have stayed on the low side of guidance and thus have raised a Freeze Warning for all our NC counties excluding the beach forecast zones. Our SC counties will be mainly in the mid 30s, with upper 30s at the beaches. Thursday will be dry and unseasonably cool as the Arctic airmass moves overhead. Expect highs only in the mid to upper 50s. && .SHORT TERM /THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT/... As of 300 PM Wednesday...Cold Canadian high pressure will move eastward shifting from the Mid Atlantic coast farther off shore through Fri. This will allow a return flow to set up with increasing moisture and warmth. Initially, though, the dense shallow cold air mass in place will set the stage for very cold temps once again Thurs night. Models are showing a coastal trough becoming more defined overnight Fri as high pressure wedges in over inland areas with lighter NE winds while just off shore a more easterly wind develops pushing moisture on shore. Most places should be a few degrees warmer than previous night...mid 30s for the low, but would expect some traditionally cooler spots to drop toward freezing. The moisture return will bring RH values above 80% overnight Thurs and this will allow some frost to develop under decent radiational cooling conditions as skies remain mainly clear and winds drop off Thurs eve. Upon the expiration of the Freeze Warning for tonight, there will be an evaluation as to which counties would need an frost advisory or possibly another Freeze Warning. The most likely candidates would be Pender and Bladen counties, but other spots mainly across NC could surely see frost if forecast remains on track. As high pressure shifts farther off the Mid Atlantic coast on Friday, a southeasterly return flow will bring warmer and moister air into the area while a deeper SW to W flow will develop aloft. Mid to upper ridge will build up the southeast coast with heights rising and 850 temps return up near 7C Fri aftn. This will push temps back up toward normal...closer to 70 most places. The on shore flow will keep places closer to the cooler waters in the 60s. There may be some clouds around, but pcp will remain at bay through the period and overall there will be a good deal of March sunshine. Temps on Fri night will remain at or above normal. && .LONG TERM /SATURDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY/... As of 300 AM Wednesday...Return flow underway on Saturday expected to bring unseasonable warmth. Upper ridge axis should stay close enough to the coast to keep mid levels fairly dry. This changes fairly quickly Saturday night into Sunday and moisture depth may increase. Two large shortwaves try to impinge upon our upper ridge but appear to largely be shunted over it to the north. It appears that late period moisture depth may actually decrease. So while some minor late weekend rain chances may materialized they should dwindle heading into next week. Daytime highs will remain above climo, generally in the mid to upper 70s but trending towards 80 inland late in the period. Nighttime lows will similarly be mild, and the deviations from climo will tend to mirror the degree of cloud cover. && .AVIATION /00Z THURSDAY THROUGH MONDAY/... As of 00Z...High confidence VFR conditions will continue through the through the valid TAF period. Skies will continue to clear from N to S this evening with generally SKC overnight and Thu. The wind direction will be ENE to NE through the period. The strongest winds tonight will be around 10 kt at KLBT and KFLO with sustained winds of 10 to 15 kt for KMYR, KCRE and KILM. The coastal terminals will continue to experience wind gusts of near 20 kt, strongest through mid and late eve. Extended outlook...VFR. && .MARINE... NEAR TERM /THROUGH THURSDAY/... As of 300 PM Wednesday...Small Craft Advisory will remain in effect from this afternoon and into Thursday as a cold and dry High Pressure system drops in from the NW. Conditions will begin to moderate Thursday afternoon and the ridge axis moves overhead. Expect NE winds of 20 to 25 kts tonight diminishing to 15 to 20 kts on Thursday as seas drop from 4 to 6 ft tonight to 3 to 5 ft on Thursday. SHORT TERM /THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT/... As of 300 PM Wednesday...High pressure will shift farther off the Mid Atlantic coast through the period. This will allow a return flow to set up with winds shifting around from NE Thurs evening to E-SE through Fri and southerly by Sat morning. The models are hinting at a coastal trough overnight Thurs which may act to produce enhance a more NE flow near the coast with a greater easterly flow off shore. Either way, an on shore flow will be the rule through much of the period diminishing to 10 kts or less. This will allow seas to subside from near 3 to 4 ft Thurs eve down to 3 ft or less Fri morning. LONG TERM /SATURDAY THROUGH MONDAY/... As of 300 AM Wednesday...The above normal temperatures will give a clue as to expected marine conditions. That is, the area will be in a return flow regime around sprawling Atlantic high pressure. Wind will thus be southerly and for the most part be capped at 10 kt though a few higher gusts certainly hard to rule out. A minor increase in the long shore swell energy could make for an increased presence of 4 ft seas along the outer portions later Sunday in an otherwise 2 to 3 ft wave environment. && .ILM WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES... SC...None. NC...Freeze Warning from 4 AM to 9 AM EDT Thursday for NCZ087-096- 099-105-107-109. MARINE...Small Craft Advisory until 5 PM EDT Thursday for AMZ250-252- 254-256. && $$ NEAR TERM...REK SHORT TERM...RGZ LONG TERM...MBB AVIATION...RJD is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.